Rainbows, handy pocket cameras and sacred serendipity

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, June 15, 2011

George Halmazna was ready for this sunrise rainbow arching across the western sky on June 11 as Cochrane folks awoke to a hope-filled new day. Photo by George Halmazna.

Our readers sure love rainbows, for both photographic and spiritual reasons.

Responding to last week’s column, former Cochrane resident David Forbes wrote:

“Aren't digital pack-in-your-pocket cameras great! One time coming back from Morley I spotted a rainbow and lined everything up so it looked like it was sitting on the home of two of my friends. Loved it!”

Avid photographer George Halmazna agrees about pocket cameras. (See Aug. 10, 2010 Cochrane Eagle story on his photography skills.)

George is a real early bird. The other day at 5:50 a.m., for instance, he was on the ridge overlooking Cochrane Ranche when off to the west a sunrise rainbow arched across our foothills community.

He reached into his pocket, pulled out his palm-size Lumix digital camera and captured the rainbow so that we non-early-birds could enjoy it, too.

For George, pocket cameras are powerful aids for embracing the moment. “Every single day is so important, because life is so short,” he says. “I don’t wait for something to happen tomorrow.”

Yes, as George rightly notes, there’s joy to be found in opening our hearts to life’s unplanned rainbows – for living in “God’s time,” as “Louise,” another Cochrane early bird, puts it. She wrote:

After reading last week's article, a flood gate of emotion opened for me. You reminded me through your quotes from Maya Angelou and Lord Byron about a circumstance in my life. 

I was diagnosed in 2003 with Stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After chemo and many other diagnostics, we were heading into the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary for the results of a bone marrow aspiration to see if the cancer had entered the bone marrow.

It was November, very early in the morning and raining a lot. I was saying my rosary on the way in, and my husband said stop praying for a minute and look out the back window.

So I did, and with no sun in sight, we saw a very full and vivid rainbow. All my anxiety left me and I said out loud, this is my sign from God that no matter what we hear today, everything will be okay.

While we were at the centre, I was told that the cancer was in the bone marrow. I was disappointed but knew that we would deal with whatever was thrown at us. Eventually, I had to have a stem cell transplant and, six months later, the cancer was found in my throat.

A biopsy was done and they discovered that I had a more aggressive B-cell lymphoma. We were vacationing in Ontario and immediately came back to Calgary, where numerous tests were done again. However, this time they could not find the cancer.

My oncologist said, “We can't find it, but it is hiding and one day it will come back.”

I have been in remission for six years. I still have that rainbow that was full of hope in my heart, and I know that God granted me the courage to deal with whatever was thrown at me. I live in God's time, not man's. And to this day, rainbows are a very special part of my life.

Thank you so much for reminding me how blessed I am and how, if we are looking, God is there with us all the time.

Thank you for these inspiring words.

© 2011 Warren Harbeck

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